How do you incorporate the whole person in your Migraine and Headache Management – the physical, intellectual, and emotional?
Physically obviously we do a great deal to manage our pain. Both preventatively and acutely. I take my preventative medication, I meditate, take supplements, use the Oska Pulse and I exercise and these are preventative measures. I use ice, magnesium oil, menthol creams and Japanese mint oil, meditation, rest and my external stimulation device the Oska Pulse for acute management.
Emotionally I see a psychologist and manage my depression with medication. I take care to manage my mood with self-care because pain is quite stressful on our mood. I choose how I react to pain. And in high pain I am careful to how I manage it and am careful to choose activities that will relax me instead of amplifying the mood issues that come with high pain. I will intentionally distract myself from thoughts that occur during high pain or rationalize them out.
Intellectually I think about my pain schema and how I think about pain. It is important to understand your beliefs about pain and how they impact your decisions. For example, it isn’t a good idea to push through pain, because this leads to exceeding your limits, causes a great deal of mood stress and just a lot of stress. At the same time, we cannot live in fear of the pain such that we are in avoidance of activities and life… we have to learn to cope and manage the pain in order to live our lives within moderation and our limits. This means understanding our limits. Understanding pacing. Understanding fear and avoidance behaviours when we see them in ourselves.
Not to mention being an informed patient. If I had not looked into vestibular migraines myself, my vertigo would not be treated. My neuro had No recommendations for vestibular migraines. He said the vertigo would be treated when the migraines were and certainly my migraines were not treated and I have no responded to treatment at that point for over a decade. I was having serious issues with vertigo alone. I needed to be able to drive to work. So I recommended to him Sibelium for myself, due to my research into vestibular migraines. And my lack of response to the alternative preventative recommended for vertigo. And thankfully I did since I respond very well to it on the vertigo front.
I call it the chronic pain lifestyle, because really, our lives are catered to pain management. I do not mean ruminating and dwelling on the pain. I mean we live a life of pain management and coping and discovering new ways to manage and cope, to improve our quality of life. I am always looking for ways to improve my coping and pain management. And I always try to pace and manage my pain. By, of course, having learned the hard way what not to do, over and over again because I am one hell of a stubborn person.